HTML 4.0 verification method

In the past, I have always asked clients which browsers my HTML must properly render in.  Recently, the client does not specify a particular browser - instead they have specified HTML 4.0 specs.  So, let's say I have a web page.  How do I verify that I have done everything according to 4.0 specs?  By the way, does anyone know the RFC for HTML 4.0?  
dbyrne03Asked:
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jaysolomonCommented:
http://validator.w3.org/

Go here and type in your web address and it will validate it for you and give you a list of errors
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seanpowellCommented:
You can read the original 4.0 spec here:
http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-html40-19980424/

In most cases, HTML 4.0 is actually 4.01, a subversion of 4.0. It is 4.01 that the validator will check against.
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ZontarCommented:
Actually, the validator will check against a number of different doctypes. You need to tell it which one to use -- prefereably by including a doctype in your pages, which you should be doing anyway.

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seanpowellCommented:
Zontar's correct - actually I meant to say that I believe 4.01 is the "minimum" requirement that needs to be met to validate - it all depends on your doctype :-)
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dbyrne03Author Commented:
OK, thanks.  That is helpful.  However, I just validated a page and it complained about the bgcolor attribute not being part of the body element.  In my little pocket reference manual for HTML 4.0, this IS part of the body element.
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dbyrne03Author Commented:
Also, does anyone know if th e w3c has any mechanism to prevent someone from just hammering this feature?  Someone could write a script that would pass a URL to http://validator.w3.org/ for html resource for their web site.
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seanpowellCommented:
try background-color as opposed to bgcolor

I suppose someone could write a script if they needed it...
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seanpowellCommented:
I believe you can also install it locally:
http://validator.w3.org/source/
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ZontarCommented:
> I just validated a page and it complained about the bgcolor attribute not being part of the body element.

According to the W3C spec, this is deprecated. A page that uses it will probably validate as HTML 4.01 Transitional, but not HTML 4.01 Strict.

You should be using CSS anyway:

<style>
body {background-color:#FFFFEE; }
</style>

You might also be interested in HTML Tidy: http://tidy.sourceforge.net/

This is a free ultity that runs on Windows, MacOS and most *nix platforms. Check the links -- there are several different applicaitons that integrate it, and a GUI version for Windows as well. (I should have thought of this before, seeing that I use UltraEdit, which comes with it as part of the editor.)
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